Episode 66 – Marieshka Barton – The magical language of un-realistic venture ideas in social entrepreneurship

As social entrepreneurship gains maturity, research has begun to explore the less alluring aspects of the field, including the heroic stance of social entrepreneurs, the assumed moral superiority of their intentions, and the misleading emphasis on solutionism. In this paper, we explore a central component of this criticism, which is the construction of un-realistic venture ideas in social entrepreneurs’ pitches for social change. We analysed social venture business plans and the written feedback provided by judges during a social venture competition, and we used speech act theory to analyse the claims and promises triggering judges’ disbelief. We discovered three linguistic artefacts that underlie the construction of un-realistic venture ideas in social entrepreneurship, which we label holism, devotion, and enlightenment. While these artefacts trigger disbelief, they also play an expressive role as they channel both contestation and dreams. We leverage magical realism to forward an alternative explanation of how venture ideas in social entrepreneurship can act as a cultural form of social protest, which can be seen as a historically contingent, modern revolution.

Full article available on Taylor & Francis website: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08985626.2022.2158492

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